Trinity Baptist Church

Trinity Baptist Church is situated in Livingstone (named after the great 19th century missionary and explorer, Dr David Livingstone). It is the capital of Southern Province and is situated about 6–7 hours drive from Lusaka. The population stands at 103,288 (CSO 2000). Tourism is the economic mainstay of this town. This is so because it has one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls. When Dr David Livingstone set his eyes on this “wonder” it is reported that he said “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” In Zambia, the Victoria Falls is considered as the gateway to Zambian tourism.

Pastor Michael Bwembya next to the Victoria Falls

In the last two years, Livingstone has known a high influx of tourists who once upon a time used to flood Zimbabwe. However, the political situation and the economic challenges that Zimbabwe is going through has caused a good number of the tourist to start heading for Livingstone instead. Tourists like to be assured of their peace and safety when they visit a foreign destination. In this case, Zambia in general and Livingstone in particular, have become their preferred choice.

Back to the church. Trinity Baptist Church began in 1990. This was due to doctrinal differences that emerged in a non-denominational church in Livingstone. A number of Christians who were very unhappy with this situation agreed to start this new church under the inspiration of brother Happy Ngoma, who at that time was studying at the Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA), in Ndola. He travelled to Livingstone to organise this new church. The initial group of Christians comprised the Mhones, Peter and Prisca Phiri, and brother Davies Kabuba.

The church was first called All Souls Baptist Church and the first service was held at a house on Kataba Lane. Whereas the first service had about five adults, the second service the following Sunday only had two adults, Mr Mhone and Mrs Phiri. The rest were children in attendance. Mr Mhone preached to Mrs Phiri and the children. We are reliably informed that he preached the gospel faithfully, as though he was preaching to a packed church building! Thankfully, the numbers never went lower than that but instead grew steadily. The church then moved from Kataba Lane to Holy Cross Primary School. This was because a lot of people who would be invited to the church felt uncomfortable about attending a church that meets in a house.

The first pastor was Victor Kanyense, who commenced his pastorate in 1992. He was a missionary pastor sent there by Lusaka Baptist Church, which was the mother church of All Souls Baptist Church. Victor came from Kasama, where he had been the pastor of Kasama Baptist Church. It was during the pastorate of Victor Kanyense that the church changed its name from All Souls Baptist Church to Trinity Baptist Church. The church also moved from Holy Cross Primary School to Nalituwe Primary School. This move was necessitated by the church wanting a more central meeting place. Holy Cross was too far away from the town centre. Under the ministry of Pastor Kanyense the church grew steadily, until he left for South Africa in 1997, where he took up another pastorate.

After a while of being without a pastor, Lusaka Baptist Church sent me, Michael Bwembya, here in the capacity of missionary pastor, and I continue in the same position to this very day. Previously, I had been a missionary pastor in Mansa, where I helped with the establishment of Central Baptist Church, and in Mpika, where I helped with the establishment of Emmanuel Baptist Church. We were glad to finally move to the tourist capital to help with the establishment of Trinity Baptist Church.

Perhaps this is the best place for me to say something about my family. I am married to Jacqueline. We have two boys, David (12) and Mapalo (7), and one daughter, Natasha (2). Jacqueline is a home-maker, while David is in Grade 8 and Mapalo is in Grade 3. Of course, Natasha is yet to start school.

In the year 2004 the Trinity Baptist Church finally settled in its present location in Shezongo Road, Elleine Brittle, behind Hillcrest High School. This time it was our own site, which was purchased with a slab already in place. The church erected a temporary structure and moved onto the premises. We were tired of meeting in classrooms for fourteen years! The first preacher in this temporary structure on the church site was Pastor Nigel Lacey of Lusaka Baptist Church, the mother church. We have continued to meet in the temporary structure, while erecting a church building on the slab that we found when we first purchased the site. The church building is now at roof level. We now need an estimated K100 million (about $28,000) to put the roof on. We believe that the Owner of the silver and gold on the planet will soon grant us the desire of our hearts.

From the days of small beginnings, we have seen the numbers grow from the five to forty nine members. We are truly grateful to God for enabling us to grow in this way. There have been times when we have experienced a mass exodus of members, as they have moved on to greener pastures. Thankfully, God has been pleased to fill those empty spaces with new converts and those who have come to Livingstone in search of greener pastures.

The church does most of its work through its ministries. We try to encourage members to be involved in at least one ministry, according to their gifting. The ministries in the church are Ladies Ministry, Book Ministry, Helping Hand Ministry, Children’s Sunday School, Evangelism Ministry and Married Couples Ministry. We also have a leadership of one elder and two deacons. We had a third deacon but he recently relocated to Chipata. There is need to beef up the deaconate and eldership. Please pray with us that the Lord may raise men fitting for his call as we seek an additional deacon and elder.

The weekly activities run as follows: Sunday morning worship service is at 10:00 hours preceded by Sunday school classes, i.e. Adult Bible Class, Youth Bible Class and Primary School Bible class. In the afternoon at 16:00 hours to 17:30 hours we have the afternoon worship service. On Tuesdays, we have a prayer meeting in two cell groups—one in Elleine Brittle and the other in Batoka area. On Thursday, we have a bible study at the manse. All these meetings start at 17:30 hours and go to 18:30 hours.

Evangelistic activities include a Saturday afternoon meeting with Hillcrest High School students which began with one meeting a month but amazingly the students requested for another Saturday so that they can be met twice a month. We are excited with such a response and they too are enjoying the sessions. As a church we are grateful to God for the brothers that have taken up the challenge to reach out to the students in institutions of learning. We are praying God that may open doors for us at the Teachers Training College, the Nursing School, the Air Force Training School and the Livingstone Institute of Business and Engineering Studies.

Under missions, we hope to partner with HeartCry Missionary Society to establish some work in Sesheke district. So far, our research seems to indicate that the targeted area has no evangelical work. The churches that we noted in this area are Roman Catholic Church, Seventh Adventist Church and New Apostolic Church. As soon as the modalities are sorted out, the team from the USA and our own people will move in. We are, however, grateful that there is already an indigenous brother who is keeping the work going by doing some evangelistic work. You would do well to pray with us for this brother. His name is Dominic.